Our Democrat-controlled Legislature and the powerful elite that run California hate it when we common, every-day voters use the power of the ballot box to turn away from their liberal agenda. In some cases, like the coming November 2020 election, we will all have the chance to reinforce our strongly held opinions that we do not like crime, higher taxes and government meddling in our employment, health care or living choices.
Will they listen this time? Doubtful.
California is one of the few states that have citizen-initiated ballot propositions. Unfortunately, the Legislature can also vote to put propositions before the voter. This year, we will have state propositions to consider in addition to the slew of local initiatives sponsored by our cities and the county. We have yet to see a complete list of the local issues you will be asked to consider, but you can be sure they will cost you money in the long run.
Proposition 14 is asking for your approval to issue a $5.7 billion bond to fund stem cell research dedicated to brain and central nervous system diseases, and conditions like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and strokes. A worthy endeavor to be sure. The kicker is this bond will end up costing California taxpayers $7.8 billion in principal and interest. Will this be another government-paid research program off which institutions profit? Why are you and I funding this research? Why not an investor group or big pharma?
Proposition 15 is asking us to substantially change the 40-year-old property tax protections we enjoy under Prop 13. One of the few breaks California property owners get is somewhat lower property taxes in a state where the cost-of-living is out of control. Proponents will give you the old, "This is for the schools" sales pitch. If this passes, and the projected billions are collected, the politicians will find a way to cheat it away from the schools in the next budget cycle like they always have. What Prop 15 will do is cause prices to rise and even more businesses to close and leave the state. A great post-COVID idea. Most city governments, realtors and, of course, unions have been bought off or threatened to garner their support for this job-killing proposal. You be the judge.
Proposition 16 will reverse our vote from 20 years ago to block affirmative action in California. It would legalize discrimination in university admissions, public employment or contracting. The message: it is OK to racially discriminate if you are the state.
Proposition 17 would give 40,000 formerly incarcerated individuals now on parole the right to vote. This will be framed as a "race issue" as two-thirds of our parolees are Latino or Black.
Proposition 18 will let 17-year-olds vote in primary elections if they will turn 18 before a general election. Gee, I wonder how teachers will ask their students to vote? I would prefer we raise the voting age to 30, at which point most of us have at least had a brush with real life.
Proposition 19 will make it easier for those over 55 to transfer their property tax base to a replacement residence. A rare gem of a good idea that helps people.
Proposition 20 is a return to the days of yesteryear when crime was punished. It makes theft crimes where the value is between $250 and $950 a felony. The relaxation of felony theft laws has led to skyrocketing numbers of property theft crimes in California because we stopped treating them as crimes. Yeah, for the good guys!
Proposition 21 is another try at convincing you that rent control is a good idea in a state with too little housing. It failed before. It will fail again.
Proposition 22 will reverse portions of Assembly Bill 5 which made independent contractors illegal as of January 1, 2020. Aimed at ride-share drivers and a host of other "gig economy" workers by the unions, AB5 caused an uproar when it passed. No matter your party, you do not want politicians defining how and when you can work for yourself.
Proposition 23 would require every dialysis clinic to have a licensed physician on-site. I am told this will mean the closure of clinics in areas like the Victor Valley, where physicians are in short supply and raise the cost for the other clinics who can comply.
Proposition 24 would toughen California consumer-privacy laws. Sound like a good idea? We are all tired of our information being sold and traded to internet companies like used baseball cards. The only reason I will vote no on this is that it creates a new state agency to monitor the regulations. Just what we need in California: Another state agency full of new, unionized state employees with fat pensions we must pay for. Good idea, poor execution.
Proposition 25 is another attempt to reign in the "catch-and-release" mentality running rampant in our criminal justice system. A yes vote on this measure keeps the current state law and cashless bail system in place. A no vote returns us to the previous system that requires assets or cash to secure bail set by the court.
The ballot initiative process in California is one of the few real opportunities left we ordinary voters can use to directly express our will. Do your own research and vote on these propositions that can change the future for California. Disregard the ads that are coming. Read the propositions.
Not a single reference, snide remark or suggestion about any of the twelve 2020 state ballot propositions above has been endorsed or reflects the editorial stance of this newspaper or its ownership. When the time comes, they may have reasons counter to mine to suggest you endorse or reject these propositions in November. I am just pleased that in a free society we still have a few news providers that air our differences and opinions in a civilized way rather than stifle them. We are still free to decide.
Contact Pat Orr at AVReviewOpinion@gmail.com.